I am not close to a burnout - I have already burnt myself totally out!

Started by

I will be 60 next year. We were forced by circumstances to take my elderly parents in about eight months ago. My mom is practically "bedridden" - she is in a wheelchair, cannot walk and has dementia. I must wash her, she must be helped in the bathroom, must be dressed, etc. I never had any relationship with my abusive dad and got married at age 18 to get out of the house. Now I am forced to have him in my house and to take care of him. He had a very bad accident (bicycle accident). Fell of his bicycle at a very high speed over the front handles with very bad injuries to his face - he cannot chew as his jaws were seriously fractured, a third of his tongue is missing and he has no feeling around his mouth which causes him to drool all over the place. We need to make food that he can eat and that we can put in a blender for him. Watching him eat, is a very bad sight as he drools some of the food back on his plate. We have practically became prisoners in our own house! I am still working and have to get up very early in the morning to wash my mom and dress her, clean up their room, make their bed and give them breakfast. My mom is using a commode next to the bed - she pulls herself onto the commode at night. My dad uses a bottle at night which needs to be emptied and washed every morning. My mom cannot even spread a slice of bread anymore - she just don't know how. We cannot leave it to my dad to spread as he drools all over everything - in the butter, on the rest of the bread! We have a caretaker during the day for them but we must take care of them after hours, when we got home from work and each and every off day and every weekend! Firstly, I feel extremely guilty because I just do not want to take care of my dad! Secondly, my whole life has been sucked up by taking care of them - I have missed all my own children's birthdays this year as we cannot leave them alone. My grandchildren are too noisy and must be told to be quiet all the time. I have three brothers which are all divorced so there is no other woman who can help taking care of them. My daughter stays in another town and my two daughter-in-laws just feels that they have their own families to care for and does not want to take care of my dad at all. We rush from work to make food and then help them to wash and get in bed as they want to be in bed between 6 and 7 in the evenings. They then want to get up at 5 in the mornings! When I hear the door of their room opens, I have to take care of my mom as she keeps on thinking that we have deserted her and she is left all alone if we leave her all on her own. For almost eight months, we have not been able to go anywhere, accept for rushing off for groceries, paying bills in between feeding and bedtimes - rushing home to be back in time for the next meal. We do not have the money to put them in an old age home and every time some-one just mention that - my mom starts crying - she is extremely scared of the old age homes. In our country there is horrible stories about terrible abuses of the elderly by care givers. I do not want to put my mom through that but I JUST CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE! When we are at home - we have to whisper, they sit in our living room, reading their Bibles. So we sit on our bed in our bedroom! With my dad drooling all over the place, our house feels dirty and disgusting all the time. We do not want to be at home anymore. My husband feels that it is my parents and I must take care of them - nothing is his problem. He just withdraws himself and distance himself from the situation. He will go and sit in his garage, keeping himself busy or watch TV all the time. Please help! I am alone and emotionally totally drained!


First, big (((HUGS))).
I would start by making a list of little things that you can do to help alleviate some of the strain, and then work to cross items off that list. I'll throw out a few thoughts just to get you started.

Can you arrange a caretaker once or twice a week so you and your husband can have a "date night" or just go out? If it is only for a few hours a local trustworthy teen or grandchild would be sufficient, no need for expensive pros.

Can you hire someone to come in once a month to do a thorough cleaning so you get some relief from that icky 'my house is filthy' feeling? (Using their $$ of course)

Is there a way to put a sitting area in their bedroom so they would be comfortable reading there instead of the living room, or even to convert the living room into their bed/sitting room and you could take over the bedroom as your own retreat?

Justashes, your story is such a hard one. I don't see any solution other than to get some help. If your were here in the US, I would say you need to move them into assisted living, because it is too much for one caregiver to handle. Right now you are living life for three people, so there probably isn't much left to enjoy. And I feel that your marriage will slip away if you can't have home-time with your husband.

cwillie had some good suggestions. You are going to have to get some help in and try to reclaim some time (and living space) for yourself. I can feel the stress you are under and know it could go on for a few more years. You have to consider yourself and your husband in making decisions. Life is not livable the way things are now, so I hope you'll get the help you need.
Justashes, I am so sorry for your circumstances! You are in a tough spot, especially with your Dad, as I'm sure you have some seriously deep wounds that have not healed. Where do you live? If in the US, did your Dad serve in the Military? If so, there may be monetary assistance for him, plus other services! If so, you should definitely check this out! Medicaid assistance, if they are in the lower end of the income threshold on their Medicare, they might qua6, then, you could get assistance in the home. Check out your Area on Aging, also, use the search box on this page, upper right hand box. As others have mentioned, you need to carve out time in the week to spend with hubby and your family! I wish you well!
Justashes - where are you located? Check Area on Aging and get them into assisted living or nursing home care and let us know how you are doing!
Justashes, the way I see it, a senior citizen should NOT be caring for older senior citizens. We have our own age decline issues, and if you hurt your back helping your parents, then what? Plus 40% of caregivers die leaving behind their love ones. Who would take care of your parents if you were no longer around?

By the way, your brothers are able bodied adults, they can help take care of your parents..... them not helping because they are male is a very lame excuse. We weren't born knowing how to cook, clean and take care of people... we learned, and so can they.

As for our elders not wanting to go into a continuing care facility, it's because many decades ago elders were placed in asylums, and that isn't the case today. But that stereotype still is alive and well among many elders.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support